The Happiness Dividend: Longer, Healthier Lives

Happiness may truly be some of the best medicine available to us, a new study suggests.

People happy with themselves and their well-being tend to live longer and healthier lives than those who are perpetually down in the dumps, British researchers report.

Women in their 50s who reported enjoying their lives had a projected live expectancy of nearly 37 more years, compared with just 31 years in those who felt depressed and unhappy in their lives, according to researchers with University College London.

The same went for men in their 50s — guys who were happy had a life expectancy of 33 more years, compared with about 27 years for miserable men.

Full story at US News

Actor Rob Lowe: I was my sick mother’s caregiver, don’t underestimate the stress caregivers face

Right now, 40 million Americans are doing truly selfless work by serving as unpaid family caregivers for a loved one. About 25 percent of those caregivers are millennials, who often feel forced to choose between their careers and caring for their aging parents and grandparents.

I can relate. When I was in my thirties, my brothers and I cared for our mother throughout her stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis. It’s not a role I was expecting to land, it didn’t come with much preparation, but it turned out to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done — and, undeniably, one of the most difficult.

Caregiving for a loved one is a role that millions more Americans will take on in the coming decades — especially with so many baby boomers saying they want to age in place instead of entering retirement homes or care facilities. There are many upsides to being cared for by devoted and well-trained family caregivers, including a reduction in hospital readmissions and a chance for families to bond during a difficult time. But the caregivers themselves often end up paying a high cost, both physically and financially, which is rarely discussed.

Full story at USA Today

How to Pay for Nursing Home Costs

ODDS ARE HIGH THAT someone in your family will need a nursing home sooner or later. Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care, and 20% of people will need it for longer than five years, according to LongTermCare.gov. The average cost of nursing home care is so high that the cost of that care can financially cripple a family. But there are steps you can take – whether a nursing home is needed now, next month or next decade – to minimize the financial strain of nursing home costs.

There are many ways to cover the costs of long-term care, including savings, investments, assets, long-term care insurance, state LTC Partnership programs, the Federal LTC Insurance Program and tax advantages. Care Conversations, an initiative led by the American Health Care Association, the National Center for Assisted Living and America’s Skilled Nursing Caregivers, offer a helpful list of these private and public payment sources in greater detail.

Full story at US News

New Research Funding Opportunity for Independent Living Transition Services for Youth and Young Adults with Significant Disabilities from Minority Backgrounds

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL is announcing a funding opportunities for a new Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) on Independent Living Transition Services for Youth and Young Adults with Significant Disabilities from Minority Backgrounds.

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program

The purpose of the DRRP program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities (including international activities) to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities.

DRRP on Independent Living Transition Services for Youth and Young Adults with Significant Disabilities from Minority Backgrounds: This particular DRRP priority is a joint-funding collaboration between NIDILRR and the Independent Living Administration (ILA), both within the Administration for Community Living (ACL). The grantee will conduct research to generate evidence-based practices for services provided by Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to facilitate the transition of youth with significant disabilities from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds who were eligible for individualized education programs and who have completed their secondary education or otherwise left school.

Full story at acl.gov

Senior-Related Causes to Get Boost from Home Instead Senior Care Fundraising Challenge

Today, for the first time in history, there are more people over age 60 than under age five. Yet, less than 1% of charitable grant dollars fund causes related to seniors and aging, creating a massive imbalance for older adults in need. Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, is working to tip the scale.

To raise awareness of the need and kickstart more contributions to senior causes, Home Instead, Inc. founders Paul and Lori Hogan recently launched a $2.5 million fundraising campaign with a $500,000 gift to the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation. The couple is also committed to matching contributions, dollar for dollar, up to an additional $1 million. A recent report from Giving USA found charitable giving by individuals declined by about 1% last year. However, foundations and corporations are stepping in to fill the need, with foundation and corporate giving rising by 7.3% and 5.4% respectively.

“We want to wake up the world to the needs of seniors in local communities everywhere,” said Paul Hogan, co-founder and chairman of Home Instead, Inc. “Our goal is to raise $2.5 million to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Not only that, we want to inspire people to start investing more in the wisdom and experience seniors offer.”

Full story at PR News Wire

Creating a More Welcoming World for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind Individuals

From smartphones to social media, technology is reshaping our world. For people with disabilities, advancements in technology and engineering have the potential to knock down long-standing barriers to communication, employment, and full community participation. ACL’s National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) works to translate that potential into real-life solutions that increase choices, opportunities, and accommodations.

For more than 30 years, NIDILRR has funded a variety of research projects at Gallaudet University — a pioneer in advancing educational opportunities and research for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. On June 25, HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan and ACL Administrator Lance Robertson got an up-close look at the impact of Gallaudet’s NIDILRR-funded work at the university in Washington, DC.

NIDILRR-funded projects at Gallaudet include the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Improving the Accessibility, Usability, and Performance of Technology for Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. A key principle behind Gallaudet’s work is that people who are deaf or hard of hearing should be directly involved in developing solutions to address the barriers they experience.

Full story at acl.gov

In Secret, Seniors Discuss Suicide

Ten residents slipped away from their retirement community one Sunday afternoon for a covert meeting in a grocery store cafe. They aimed to answer a taboo question: When they feel they have lived long enough, how can they carry out their own swift and peaceful death?

The seniors, who live in independent apartments at a high-end senior community near Philadelphia, showed no obvious signs of depression. They’re in their 70s and 80s and say they don’t intend to end their lives soon. But they say they want the option to take “preemptive action” before their health declines in their later years, particularly due to dementia.

More seniors are weighing the possibility of suicide, experts say, as the baby boomer generation — known for valuing autonomy and self-determination — reaches older age at a time when modern medicine can keep human bodies alive far longer than ever before.

Full story at US News

Your Mom Plays a Role in Age at Menopause, Longevity

For women, predicting when they’ll reach menopause is anyone’s guess. But if you want to get some foresight, you should ask your mother.

For most women, menopause begins at around 52. But for thousands of women it starts much later, and for some, a lot earlier. Those whose menopause starts later may also be looking at a longer life expectancy, researchers have found.

Smoking, chemotherapy and weight can affect the age when a woman’s monthly periods stop.

But family history appears to be the most important factor, according to researchers led by Harold Bae, of Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences. If your mother started menopause early, odds are you will, too, the investigators found.

Full story at US News

Updates from the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems

The National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS) has several updates on recent activities:

  • Technical Assistance – NCAPPS selected 15 states for the first cohort to receive technical assistance. Technical assistance recipients work with national subject matter experts toward individualized goals focused on systems change to ensure the person is at the center of service organization and delivery.
  • Learning Collaboratives – The Learning Collaborative activities will bring together “teams” from states, territories, and tribal government human services agencies to promote broad peer-to-peer learning and local improvement efforts.
  • PAL-Group Coordinator – Nicole LeBlanc will be joining the NCAPPS team as our Person-Centered Advisory and Leadership Group (PAL-Group) coordinator. Nicole is a self-advocate with deep experience in public policy. She’ll help to ensure that the PAL-Group informs and supports the direction of the efforts of NCAPPS. In addition to supporting communication with the PAL Group, Nicole will help with the development of cognitively accessible project materials and resources that reflect the experiences of people with disabilities.

Full story at acl.gov

ACL Releases a New Alzheimer’s and Dementia Program Cooperative Agreement Grant Opportunity

AoA’s  Alzheimer’s Disease Programs Initiative – Grants to States and Communities program announcement (HHS-2019-ACL-AOA-ADPI-0360) seeks to support and promote the development and expansion of dementia-capable home and community-based service (HCBS) systems in States and Communities.

There are two application options contained in the single funding announcement: Grants to States (Option A) and Grants to Communities (Option B).

No entity is eligible to apply for both State and Community options.

The dementia-capable systems resulting from program activities under either option are expected to provide quality, person-centered services and supports that help people living with dementia and their caregivers remain independent and safe in their communities.

Full story at acl.gov